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Agatea, Mariolocked

  • John Whenham

(b 1623–8; d Bologna, 1699, before 28 Jan). Italian singer, composer and instrument maker. He was an Augustinian monk who was employed from about 1649 as a soprano castrato at the Este court at Modena. On 13 November 1660 he was appointed to the choir of S Petronio, Bologna, with a stipend of 50 lire a month; he was discharged on 24 April 1662 but rejoined on 25 July 1663. In October 1665 he returned to Modena, where he succeeded Marco Uccellini as choirmaster of the cathedral. He vacated this post in November 1673 and by early 1674 was again living at Bologna. Between 1677 and 1681 he served as a singer in the cappella of Duke Francesco II of Modena. In 1685 he was made a member of the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, and seems to have spent his last years in or near that city. He wrote to the Duke of Modena in 1689 from the monastery of S Biagio, Bologna, asking the duke to grant him a pension in view of his old age and failing eyesight. In 1692 he wrote twice more to the duke: on 13 January to say that he had become totally blind and on 13 May to say that he had been transferred, on his doctors’ advice, from S Biagio to the monastery of S Maria della Misericordia outside Bologna. His death is recorded in the Registro di bolletta della corte of Modena for 28 January 1699, where his age is given as ‘about 75’, which would suggest that he was born about 1623–5; an inscription to an engraved portrait of him dating from 1676, however, gives his age as 48, which would point to a birth date of 1627 or 1628. During his lifetime he seems to have been better known as a singer than as a composer. He is described in the Atti capitolari (f.87) of Modena Cathedral as ‘a soprano singer of uncommon excellence’; in 1666 (not 1664 as Roncaglia stated) Cazzati dedicated a motet to him, describing him as a ‘renowned musician’. A letter to G.P. Colonna reveals that he was also a maker of keyboard instruments. Most of his few surviving vocal compositions are secular, though several are moral in tone. Roncaglia considered him a competent composer with a gift for melodic writing.

Works

Venite celeres, 1v, bc, 1670¹

I pianti d’un core, canzonetta, 1v, bc, 1670³

Cants, 1v, bc

Calco appena il suol col piede; Chi non sa che sia tormento; Fido esempio d’amore; Frangi l’arco; Mentre l’ombra bambina; Poiche la vera fede; Vanti pur il dio Cupido: I-MOe Mus.F.1366 and Mus.G.2

Per baciar volto sì vago, aria, 1v, bc, MOe Mus.G.250 [Amor fammi goder, aria with vc obbligato in this MS, wrongly attrib. Agatea; see Roncaglia]

Writings

  • 8 letters to the Duke of Modena, MOs
  • 5 letters to G.P. Colonna, Bc

Bibliography

  • DBI (L.F. Tagliavini)
  • I-Bc U/12
  • Decreta Congregationis (MS, 1650–73, I-Bsp), 6, ff.119v, 133, 147v, 149, 154
  • E. Colombani: Catalogo della collezione d'autografi lasciata alla R. Accademia filarmonica di Bologna dall'accademico Ab. Dott. Masseangelo Masseangeli (Bologna, 1881/R), 4
  • S.L. Astengo: Musici agostiniani anteriori al secolo XIX (Florence, 1929), 15–17
  • G. Roncaglia: La cappella musicale del duomo di Modena (Florence, 1957), 127–37
  • O. Gambassi: La cappella musicale di S Petronio: maestri, organisti, cantori e strumentisti dal 1436 al 1920, Historiae musicae cultores biblioteca, 44 (Florence, 1987), 134–6, 323
  • V. Crowther: The Oratorio at Modena (Oxford, 1992), 16
Muzïkal 'nïy sovremennik
Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale
Bologna, Basilica di S Petronio, Archivio Musicale
R. Eitner: Biographisch-bibliographisches Quellen-Lexikon
Modena, Biblioteca Estense e Universitaria
C. Schmidl: Dizionario universale dei musicisti
Dizionario biografico degli italiani (Rome, 1960-)